Tom Miner Basin Association's (TMBA) range riding season began in early May this year. Riders began the season tracking and scouting new areas as well as documenting wildlife with a focus on predator sign. Cattle have been returning to the Basin throughout the month and our riders began riding on a daily basis during the last week of May. As in past years, riders are out at first and last light in an effort to increase human presence around cattle, communicate accurate information about cattle back to ranchers, and find carcasses in a timely manner. In some cases riders are also working to keep cattle loosely gathered in a herd, thus making them (especially calves) less vulnerable to predation.
The Basin has had one wolf depredation on a calf during the month of May. Riders discovered the carcass during their evening ride and removed it from the pasture. The calf was approximately 1.5 months old and in good health. Riders met with Wildlife Services the following morning and through their close examination of the scene were able to confirm the kill. Based on the level of feeding on the calf, it is believed that a single wolf was responsible for the kill. After the investigation, the carcass was completely removed from the area and placed in a cattle-free area of the Basin.
Early in May, riders began tracking wolves, bears and elk. Based on locations that riders are able to access, elk were highly concentrated in areas of the Anderson Ranch, the Hubbard Ranch and Grizzly Creek Ranch. Two elk were discovered in separate areas of the Basin that had been killed by wolves. This month, riders also confirmed that the wolf pack, known as the Steamboat pack, has pups of the year. Later in May while monitoring cattle, riders spent time tracking wildlife (primarily wolves, bears, elk and moose) through ground tracking, field cameras and visual observation.